In addition to making Trent Williams the highest-paid offensive tackle in the NFL this offseason, the 49ers went out and signed six-time Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency.
Williams joined 95.7 The Game on Thursday, and spoke about why he's so excited to have Mack joining him on the 49ers' offensive line next season.
"That gives us the brain trust,” Williams told “Damon, Ratto and Kolsky” on Thursday. “It’s like finding that quarterback, we just found our quarterback on the front line. Obviously, Weston (Richburg) had his deals with the injuries, which is a misfortune, and his case, we’re praying for him, that he gets a speedy recovery.
“But, to have a guy like Alex Mack come in and fill in that void, he’s an All-Pro, everything that you would ask for in a center he is, I think we’re so lucky, I don’t even know how we did it. Like I said, everybody around here is getting used to the magic that front office works every offseason, I still get amazed even though I expect it, it still amazes me that they continue to bring in high-caliber players to continue to add pieces to the puzzle, to be back in that big dance, I think Alex Mack is a huge piece of that puzzle.”
Richburg was signed to a five-year contract in 2018 with hopes he could be the 49ers’ center week in and week out. Richburg played in 28 games before he was knocked out late in the 2019 season with a torn patellar tendon and forced to miss the remainder of the season. After another injury sidelined Richburg for the duration of last season, he restructured his contract with the team and was “likely to retire” according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Mack comes to the 49ers after five seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, where he helped lead the Falcons to a Super Bowl appearance under then-offensive coordinator and current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Williams and Mack have a combined 14 Pro Bowl appearances between them, and bring strong veteran leadership to a 49ers offensive line that struggled at times a season ago.
Jimmy Garoppolo appears, by all accounts, to be the expected 49ers’ starting quarterback when Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season starts, although a number of anonymous sources still link the 49ers to both unhappy stars around the league requesting trades, and some of the upcoming crop of QBs expected to go in the first round of the draft.
With the tandem of Williams and Mack leading the offensive line into next season, Garoppolo or whoever becomes QB1 should sleep soundly knowing they will have one of the game’s sharpest minds and one of its most talented tackles protecting him each and every snap.